St Kentigern College, a powerhouse of the 1A competition, will reportedly be boycotted by rival schools fed up by the school’s recruitment policies. Up to five players from rival schools were recruited to play for St Kentigern next year.
‘They’re not building from the ground up, from year nine to 11. They’re going after the superstars and it’s brazen,” Napier Boys principal Matthew Bertram told the NZ Herald, after their halfback joined the school for next year.
After attempts to formalise some standard guidelines failed, including limiting teams to playing just two regional players who have played 1st XV rugby before, up to 10 schools formally advised St Kentigerns they would boycott playing them.
“It’s a serious issue and it needed a serious response,” Mount Albert Grammar School principal Patrick Drumm said.
“We needed to take a strong leadership stand as a recruitment strategy like this is not what school sport should be about.
“The integrity and credibility of the competition is challenged by targeting elite players from around the country.
“We felt the time was right to try to have a moral and ethical discussion and while we had a positive meeting with King’s that wasn’t the case with St Kents.”
“It is the immediate decision of each of our schools that in 2019 our 1st XV rugby teams will not now compete against St Kentigern College.”
Local college sports bylaws restrict inter-school recruitment within the Auckland region, however, St Kentigern’s recruitment net has spread to a national stage in recent years.
Another school, King’s College, agreed in principle to change their rugby programme and will not be part of the boycott.
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